Use of a Single IRB

August 23, 2019

For researchers who plan to submit a grant proposal to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is important to be aware of the NIH requirement for use of a Single Institutional Review Board (IRB) for multi-site human subject research. The Final NIH Policy on Use of a Single IRB for Multi-Site Research establishes the expectation that when a study involves multiple domestic sites conducting the same non-exempt human research protocol, a Single IRB is used. This means that rather than each site obtaining separate IRB approvals from each of their institutions, the sites must rely upon a Single IRB that has been designated and agreed to by the sites.

Selection of the Single IRB occurs at the time of grant proposal submission, not at Just in Time. NIH requires a Single IRB plan with the grant proposal that includes information such as selection of the Single IRB, indication that all identified participating sites have agreed to rely on the proposed  Single IRB, and communication plans.  At Michigan State University (MSU), the MSU Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) must agree to selection of the Single IRB. This is done through submission of the HRP-562 – Template – Use of a Single IRB for National Institutes of Health in the Click™ Research Compliance System by the research team and review and acceptance of the Single IRB by the MSU HRPP. We highly recommend that researchers contact the MSU HRPP early and as soon as possible, as the decision of which IRB should serve as IRB of record may require discussions between the institutions’ IRBs. The requirement to use a Single IRB will extend to other federally funded human research in January 2020.

More information about the Single IRB process can be found at: